This Millennial Doesn’t Need a Trophy

While Dominic Jay was born into the “Trophy Kid” generation, he believes what many think about Millennials is wrong – and has more than five years with the same company to prove it.

By Dominic Jay

I am Dominic Jay, and I am a Millennial. While there are many characteristics of my generation that describe me, there are a few I have learned that are not so accurate.

With the Millennials recently taking over the ranks as the largest generation, it shouldn’t be a surprise that “one size doesn’t fit all” when characterizing the now 75 million plus of us now in the United States. This statement also applies for all other generations as well, from the Generation X’ers up to the Silent/Traditionalists.

I am sure we all have observed, spoken with, or heard about in either our work and/or personal lives a person that appears to fit one or more characteristics of a particular generation they are presumed to be in. I know I have.

It only takes a few of these experiences before a person naturally draws the conclusion that all people in a particular generation are the same. This is the way that stereotypes are formed. They usually start with a piece of truth but can slowly expand from truth to fact in our subconscious. 

With that said, this commentary is intended to provide a real-life example of an individual in a particular generation that bucks the stereotype and doesn’t fit one, or sometimes more, characteristics based on birth year.

We can start with me. In many ways I am what you would call the typical Millennial. I’m often multitasking with technology in all facets of my life, I like to have a good work-life balance and I feel it is important to do meaningful work that not only helps yourself and your company, but helps your community and ultimately the world. 

These characteristics are viewed as fairly positive. However, my generation has a few not-so-positive words and phrases associated with it, such as the “Generation Me” the “Entitlement Generation” and “Trophy Kids.”

Because of these views, I have heard people say Millennials are not loyal employees and that they will leave their companies within two years if they aren’t promoted every year. This is a frequent assumption that I hear from others who make, or have made, hiring decisions. But not all Millennials are “job-hoppers”.

In September 2014, I celebrated my five-year anniversary with PNC. Not only I have worked solely for PNC since graduating from college, but have even been with my current group for about four of those 5 ½ years.

The reasons that I think many Millennials may leave a job so soon isn’t always for the money. I know many peers who have left jobs and taken pay cuts. Many of them discovered the culture and mission of their newest employer didn’t align with their own values. Some that made more money had no work-life balance and put in 80+ hour work weeks, while others felt like their work didn’t matter or make a difference. Many didn’t think their manager and company understood or cared about them.

After listening to their horror stories, I quickly realized that I didn’t have those same issues. My last manager is one of my best friends at work and allowed me to participate in a variety of PNC activities that were outside of my primary job responsibilities. These activities break up the monotony of the daily grind.

I have a flexible schedule and get to work from home on occasion, which is very important to me on those sub-zero wind chill days. And I also get brought in on new projects and systems that we incorporate in our group which satisfies my interest in technology.

I'm able to do all these things because of the values that PNC has as a company. And while I am unlikely to stay in my current position for the rest of my career, I am not so much in a rush to leave the bank altogether. 

While I understand that everyone may not be in the same situation as mine, I encourage everyone to look closely at what their employer offers as a whole. Talk with your manager about your goals and ask if there’s a way to shape your position to better reflect those goals along with your values. 

Dominic is a senior corporate underwriter in PNC’s corporate and institutional banking division in Pittsburgh. He is also treasurer of iGen, the company’s employee group focused on bridging generational differences in the workplace. 

Dominic Jay encourages other Millennials to look closely before a leap to a new employer

In my personal experience, my decision to stay actually didn’t have to do with the money. It had to do with the stories of my friends in the same industry that left their jobs.